Lender Successfully Compels Arbitration in Response to Usury Complaint

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lender arbitrationCashCall and its affiliates haven’t fared particularly well in their recent efforts to dismiss complaints filed against them by state regulators. They found some success, however, in their recent efforts to dismiss a private usury action filed against them in Kentucky Federal Court.

The plaintiff in the case received a payday loan from the defendants that she argued was usurious and, therefore, void. CashCall countered that the agreement contained a clause that required all disputes between the parties to be submitted to an arbitration conducted by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. As such, CashCall argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed or stayed pending arbitration.

The plaintiff countered that the arbitration clause was a sham and illusory. She alleged that the tribal forum laid out in the agreement didn’t exist and, therefore, the arbitration clause was unenforceable. She also cited to a number of cases that had found arbitration clauses contained in other CashCall agreements void.

After reviewing the parties’ positions, the court sided with CashCall. The court noted that in the cases cited by the plaintiff, the agreements had required that the arbitration proceedings be conducted by a member or members of the CRST tribe. In the agreement at issue, however, the arbitration clause provided that the plaintiff could also choose other organizations to conduct the arbitration, including AAA and JAMS. Because the plaintiff was permitted to choose an established organization to conduct the arbitration rather than members of the CRST, the court found that the agreement was not illusory and should be enforced. Therefore, the court granted CashCall’s motion to compel arbitration and dismissed the case.

Yaroma v. CashCall, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123457 (E.D. Ky. Sept. 16, 2015)

Last modified: September 23, 2015
Patrick SiegfriedPatrick Siegfried is the author of usurylawblog.com and smallbusinessfinancelaw.com. Patrick is a practicing attorney in Bethesda, Maryland. Patrick’s work focuses on issues regarding alternative small business financing. He can be reached at psiegfried@usurylawblog.com

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